Extensions, Add-Ons and Apps, Oh My! How to Utilize Google in Your Classroom

Google Apps for Education has totally transformed the way we teach and communicate inside and outside of the classroom. Through tools like Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Earth andBlogger, we can create authentic learning experiences for our students more than ever by promoting collaboration and helping them access their work anywhere and anytime.

Teachers can utilize all of Google’s resources using Google Classroom, a simple management tool that gives teachers the ability to stay organized, assign projects and give feedback within the platform.

Google Chrome also has a library of special tools you can access through the browser called Apps, Extensions and Add-ons that can make your life in the classroom easier. Plus, when you use Chrome, all of the apps, extensions and web history are stored in the cloud, so wherever you login, they are literally at your fingertips.

Here are a few of the best additional Google tools for educators that help make teaching easy!


Extensions are mini programs that modify and enhance the functionality of the Google Chrome browser. They extend Google Chrome’s abilities by adding a button next to the address bar, which applies to the current website being viewed.

A Pinterest extension button automatically pins the page you are viewing to your Pinterest board. Symbaloo and Diigo extensions have the same capabilities.

How many times have you had 30 or more "very important" tabs open in your browser at one time? The Onetab extension allows you take all of those tabs and convert them into one list. You can save and restore the list anytime you want, or send that list to others by sharing it as a webpage.

When grading assignments in Google Drive and using a Google Chrome extension like Permanent Clipboard, teachers can store common comments on student work, or create an answer template for discussion forums.

CleanPrint saves paper and helps the environment by giving you the capability to print just what's important, or to save it as a PDF or in Dropbox. It reduces page sizes and lets you remove images.

Is YouTube blocked in your district? Use Google Chrome YouTube downloader to save YouTube video content to your computer, so that you can show videos to students in your classroom.


Add-ons are extra features within Google Drive that enhance its functions. For example, teachers can give ongoing and simultaneous feedback by using a spreadsheet add-on like Doctupus, a task-saving add-on that creates folders for students’ work and sends an email directly to students with their grade. Kaizena for Google Docs allows you to track and rate feedback and add voice comments, while Flubaroo works great with Google Sheets to automatically grade quizzes and tests through forms.

Sometimes I want to share interesting Twitter chats, or collect tweets from a workshop or conference to share with colleagues that may not be on Twitter. With Twitter Curator, you can collect tweets right inside of a Google document and publish them by creating a PDF.

Avery Label Merge creates a mail merge using Google spreadsheets to merge data. You can print it directly in Google docs, and it is perfectly formatted to match Avery templates.

Easy Bib Bibliography Creator is an add-on that creates a guide within Google docs that allows you to search for books, journals, and websites to automatically generate citations in order to properly format them in MLA, Chicago and APA for a bibliography or a work cited page. (Show this one to your students writing research papers!)


Google Chrome Apps are like desktop software programs you install on your computer, except that you use them directly within your browser.

Create stunningly impressive content for print, mobile or web with Lucidpress, an app that helps you easily produce newsletters, flyers, brochures, photo books and more.

Newsela is an easy, creative way to build reading comprehension with informational text that's always relevant through articles on current events. The beautiful thing about this innovative tool is that it allows you to take one article and differentiate it in up to five different lexile levels, which Newsela does by changing vocabulary and sentence structure. All of your students can read the same content at the level just right for them.

Make your videos come to life with EdPuzzle. Using this tool, you can crop videos, add your voice, and embed quizzes and open-ended discussion questions. Find videos directly on the site through YouTube or Khan Academy, or upload your own content, then embed them into your curriculum through other programs like Edmodo or Schoology. You can give feedback to your students and receive data yourself immediately.

VideoNote.es allows you to annotate notes and embed them in the video. When reviewing the video, you can click in the notes browser, and the video will jump to the section of the video that matches the notes. Videonot.es is integrated with Google Drive, so you can manage and share your annotated videos with students within the platform.

Use Wevideo to create collaborative video projects online. Add text, effects, music and more, and invite others through Google Drive to edit and share projects. Or, if you’re looking to create animated video projects, immediately hook your audience through cartoon-explained videos with PowToon.

Interested in flipping your classroom? Present.Me is an awesome presentation production tool that allows you to simply add audio and video to your presentation. Upload your Powerpoint, PDF, or Google presentation to the Present.Me platform, and record audio and video on one side of the screen as you navigate through the slides.

Google Apps for Education has become a very practical tool for 1:1 technology initiatives with mobile devices, as it helps programs meet ISTE standards, formerly called NETS, the framework for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age. This article just highlights a few of the best apps, extensions and add-ons Google Chrome has to offer--check out their app store for more creative approaches to learning, and tools that will help make your life easier.

Which tools do you think would make Google more effective for educators? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Curious to learn more about how to better use Google in your classroom? Come to the official EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit on Oct. 17-18 in St. Louisand talk to Brown in person. Get your ticket here for free!

cross-posted at msedtechie.blogspot.com

Patricia Brown is the Technology Integration Coach at Old Bonhomme Elementary School in Saint Louis, MO, where she implemented the first annual OB Family Tech week and Digital Learning Day. As a classroom teacher, she was awarded a $25,000 Innovative Technology grant for her school. Read her blog at msedtechie.blogspot.com.